Sci/tech

Harnessing the Power of Salt, Norway Tries Osmotic Energy
November 24, 2009 08:29 AM - Pierre-Henry Deshayes, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Taking a step further in the planet's hunt for clean power, Norway is to unveil today the world's first prototype of an osmotic power plant on the banks of the Oslo fjord. The project is small-scale but could prove the great potential of osmotic energy.

Using Enzymes from Termites To Make Biofuel from Wood Waste
November 23, 2009 02:52 PM - Phil McKenna, Technology Review

Biofuel startup ZeaChem has begun building a biofuel pilot plant that will turn cellulosic feedstocks into ethanol via a novel approach that uses microbes found in the guts of termites. The company says the ethanol yields from the sugars of its cellulosic feedstocks are significantly higher than the yields from other biofuel production processes. ZeaChem says its process also has the potential to produce a plastic feedstock.

East Antarctic ice began to melt faster in 2006
November 23, 2009 06:31 AM - Nina Chestney, Reuters

East Antarctica's ice started to melt faster from 2006, which could cause sea levels to rise sooner than anticipated, according to a study by scientists at the University of Texas. In the study published in Nature's Geoscience journal, scientists estimated that East Antarctica has been losing ice mass at an average rate of 5 to 109 gigatonnes per year from April 2002 to January 2009, but the rate speeded up from 2006.

65 World leaders to join climate talks
November 22, 2009 08:35 AM - John Acher, Reuters

Sixty-five world leaders have confirmed they will attend a U.N. conference in Copenhagen in December that will try to clinch a new global climate deal, and many more are considering, Danish officials said on Sunday.

Asian carp may be near U.S. Great Lakes
November 21, 2009 07:16 AM - Andrew Stern, Reuters

There are signs Asian carp may have breached barriers designed to keep the prolific fish out of the Great Lakes, which could spell ecological disaster for the vital source of fresh water, authorities said on Friday. Concentrations of DNA discovered by Notre Dame University researchers may indicate the presence of bighead and silver carp upstream from two electrical barriers designed to bottle up the invasive fish.

Smart Grid Riding On the Information Superhighway
November 19, 2009 11:08 AM - Nick Nigro, Clean Techies

If Internet companies and some utilities have their way, the smart grid will rely on the existing infrastructure of the information superhighway in order to function. They argue that by relying on existing standards like Internet Protocol (IP), the smart grid will grow faster and more organically than if utilities adopt an assortment of proprietary methods.

Tidal Power Turbines Producing More Energy Than Expected
November 17, 2009 11:08 AM - Timothy Hurst, Earth and Industry, Matter Network

Marine Current Turbines' SeaGen, the world’s only commercial scale tidal stream turbine, is running reliably and delivering more energy than originally expected. The generators can produce enough energy to meet the average electricity needs for 1500 UK homes during each ebb and each flood tide.

Tiny Bubbles Used to Clean Oil-Contaminated Water and Soil
November 16, 2009 12:32 PM - Vanessa L. Bourlier, ENN

According to a recently published article in the journal Chemosphere, an inexpensive new method has been developed at the University of Utah to remove oil sheen from polluted water by repeatedly pressurizing and depressurizing ozone gas, creating microscopic bubbles that attack the oil so it can be removed by sand filters.

A National Security Perspective on Climate Change
November 16, 2009 06:48 AM - Thomas Schueneman, Global Warming is Real

One key aspect of the discussion this week at the Transatlantic Media Dialog – part of the ongoing effort of climate and energy cooperation began earlier this years as the "Transatlantic Climate Bridge" was the issue of perception. Specifically how climate change and climate policy is perceived in the US and EU, as well as across the globe. A key conclusion was that climate change is indeed a threat to America's national security, and key to that finding is the conclusion that global warming is a "threat multiplier" for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world, and that such volatility will reach even the most stable regions due to the tensions caused by climate change.

Electric Cars Face Obstacles to Consumer Acceptance

Nashville is one of a handful of cities in the U.S. targeted to become an early focal point for electric vehicles, as Nissan plans to start production of a battery-powered car in Smyrna by 2012 and a program is launched to build a network of recharging stations. But getting to the point where electric vehicles are common will take time and work, said Joe Hoagland, TVA's vice president for environmental policy, science and technology.

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